Some Quotes


As I nowadays commute approximately 3 hours every day with a train, I have ample time to read books. Whenever I stumble upon a nice quote, I might make a post about it.

Nassim Taleb: Fooled by Randomness

The following inductive statement illustrates the problem of interpreting past data literally, without methodology or logic: "I have just completed a thorough statistical examination of the life of President Bush. For fifty-eight years, close to 21,000 observations, he did not die once. I can hence pronounce him as immortal, with a high degree of statistical significance."

Note: Fooled by Randomness is book about how randomness is misunderstood by specialists and non-specialists alike. For example, it is common to observe a chain of past events and immediately see how it makes a lot of sense and imagine how one knew everything all along. Also, many books have been written to analyze the behavior and lifestyles of very rich people, with the promise that if you emulate such people, you can also become very rich. Such analysis is useless unless also poor people are included. This is because traits which are shared by both rich and poor people are not the traits (unique to rich people only) which supposedly guarantee riches.

Thomas Frank: One Market Under God

Markets may look like democracy, in that we are all involved in their making, but they are fundamentally not democratic. We did not vote for Bill Gates; we didn't all sit down one day and agree that we should only use his operating system and we should pay for it just however much he thinks is right. We do not go off to our jobs checking telephone lines or making cold calls or driving a forklift every morning because this is what we want to do; we do it because we have to, because it is the only way we can afford food, shelter and medicine. The logic of business is coercion, monopoly, and the destruction of the weak, not "choice" or "service" or universal affluence.